MLS: Where to watch Messi’s Inter Miami debut against Cruz Azul on July 22

New Delhi: “When you talk about American football, there’s always a before and an after,” said Jorge Mas, co-owner of Inter Miami, where Lionel Messi makes his Saturday morning debut.

After a grueling and brutal four-year search, Maas, whose brother Jose also shares a stake in the Florida-based club with David Beckham, finally secured the biggest deal in US Major League Soccer (MLS) history last month.

Messi’s new beginning in America

The pre-Messi era in American soccer will officially come to an end on July 22 at 5:30 a.m. ET when world champions Argentina face Mexican club Cruz Azul in the League Cup in Miami at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It came shortly after Messi’s official unveiling last Sunday, when more than 20,000 people flocked to Miami’s home stadium to see the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner up close.

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Where to watch Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami matches

With thousands across the country paying exorbitant fees to watch Messi bow down in person, how can you watch the goat from the comfort of your living room? There is no official broadcaster for MLS and League Cup matches in India, so the answer is Apple TV and its MLS Season Pass. You don’t need an Apple device to access these services. Just go to Apple TV on your computer or mobile phone and set up an account.

After that, an MLS season pass subscription that allows you to watch all Messi matches in Miami and other MLS content will cost you Rs 1,299 per month, or Rs 3,900 for the rest of the season (MLS seasons usually run between February and December). However, if you also take an Apple TV subscription for Rs 99 per month (with a 7-day trial period), the MLS Pass price comes down to Rs 1,199 per month and Rs 2,900 for the rest of the season.

If you don’t want to spend your money on Messi, you can always bet on finding unofficial streams on Twitter and YouTube. However, for diehard Messi fans, this is not a sustainable option as such streams are short and provide a shoddy experience even at full capacity.

Lionel Messi to reunite with coach Gerardo Martino

As far as Messi is concerned, this will be his first appearance in club colors against Cruz Azul since he finished the season with Paris Saint-Germain in France last season, when he scored 21 goals and one more in all competitions. 20 assists were given. In Miami, Messi’s hometown Rosario, Argentina’s Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino will train. The two worked together during a tumultuous 2013–14 season at Barcelona and with the Argentina national team from 2014–2016.

Jordi Alba also joins Miami

The inclusion of former Barcelona stars Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba should be a boon for Miami’s No. 10, even if Miami’s current squad lacks world-class talent to back up Messi. Indeed, with Catalan-born Messi’s other former teammates Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta also set to move to Miami in the coming weeks, the Magic City could be the venue for Barcelona’s reunion. After winning the World Cup with Argentina in December, Messi is not at his peak either physically or mentally, but Miami will need his motivation to climb above the bottom of the Eastern Conference in MLS.

Lionel Messi’s next assignment

But Saturday’s challenge is different. A regional club competition between MLS clubs and Mexican Liga MX clubs. The tournament will feature two round robin matches before the threat rises to the knockout stage. Miami will face a challenge with 2019 champions Azul, but with Messi finally sporting the pink, anything could happen.